Pre-Marine Corps – Born in Maine October 13,1928, went to Williams Grammar School and to Cony High School in Augusta, Maine (both now closed and torn down) and was graduated in 1946.
I tried to play varsity sports (baseball and football) but primarily sat on the bench. I made the squads mostly because my father drove the school bus, not because of a great deal of athletic ability. By the time I graduated in 1946 I was still only 5’7” and 135 pounds.
During my school years I had a paper route, worked as a soda jerk at Partridges Drug Store for two years, worked as a waiter, then dishwasher, at a summer camp, and also a couple of summers as a supervisor of young bean pickers.
I attended the University of Maine at Orono for three semesters and the Univ. of Maine at Portland for one semester prior to enlisting in Corps in September 1948. I was sent to Parris Island, S.C., for recruit training, then to 5th Service Depot on Guam (via boat from San Francisco). I worked with TSgt Fred Dean, PIO chief, as base photographer and sports writer until 1950 when we went to MCSC Barstow, CA. Next was the Marine Corps Supply Depot at Barstow, Calif.. where I helped the Chaplain’s assistant with a mimeograph paper, forerunner of today’s Barstow publication, was assigned to Special Services and was stand-by photographer and movie operator.
Then I was transferred to the Marine Corps Air Station at El Toro, Calif., in the spring of 1951 where I was a movie operator at the base theater.
I had applied for special foreign duty with the Dept. of State earlier and was accepted for State Department duty in 1951. I served at the American Embassy in Cairo, Egypt until 1954. I was first watch stander to be given permission to marry and remain on duty there for a full tour. My wife Nell was a music teacher at a girl’s college in Assuit at the time. We met through a mutual friend on the steps of Shepherd’s Hotel, and the place was burned down three weeks later during the riots of 1952. We were married in September 1952 in Cairo.
The next duty station was Camp Lejeune S.C. in where I was assigned to the Second Marine Division in the Public Affairs Office as a staff writer. The next stop came soon, there was a quota for Drill Instructor School, and I was picked (did not volunteer) so went to PI. Did a short tour on the field and conned my way onto the Boot Staff as a sports writer. I went to JO School in spring of 1955 at Great Lakes NTC. I was graduated number two in the class, TSgt.Bob Mehl was first.
I became the first Marine assigned to the Armed Forces Press Service in New York City in the fall of 1957. I started as feature writer, then Sports Editor, and then editor of the AFPS Clip Sheet. I was promoted to AGYSgt while there. I Covered the Pan American Games in Chicago for AFPS in 1960. I also edited an edition of Yank Magazine while there. Next stop was at the Marine Corps Supply Center, Albany, GA.in 1961 where I edited the base paper and ran the Public Information Office (staff of two — sports writer and secretary).
A tour of recruiting came next, I was sent to MCRS Detroit in 1963 as Public Affairs NCO (PANCO). The territory included all of lower Michigan plus Toledo, Ohio. Promoted to GySgt. I went to Vietnam in 1966. I served first as Press Chief at the 1st Marine Air Wing, DaNang and then transferred to the Press Center at DaNang as Press Chief under Col. Tom Fields, LtCol. Pete Haight and Capt. Hank Stackpole (he retired with four stars). MGySgt. Garry Cameron was the NCOinC. There I went to the field to cover some operations and also escorted civilian press. Spent a week with a Civic Action unit, really admired the job they were doing. I did get recognition from the Armed Forces Writers League with a third place for Vietnam stories.
Last duty station was at the MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. I was the Press Chief, and writer. I retired as a MSgt. 1 March 1968.
My decorations and awards: Air Medal, Navy Commendation Medal w/combat V, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation, Good Conduct Medal w/6*, National Defense Service Medal w/1*, Vietnam Service Medal w/3*, Vietnam Campaign Medal w/1960 device.
We remained in Hawaii and I tried selling insurance on retirement, decided it wasn’t for me at that time and got a job as a Claims Adjuster for State Farm Insurance. After Claims School in California, was transferred to Maui to open a claims office there in 1969. I was offered a job as an assistant manager at Napili Shores resort. It seemed to be less stress in that job so accepted and lasted until a new manager took over, he wasn’t the most honest person I had met so left the Hotel-Condo and went back to insurance as an
adjuster for a local company. After 14 years in Hawaii, we moved to Lexington, KY, where I took a job with a Chevrolet dealer and talked them into making me fleet sales manager.
The last paying job I had was with a John Deere dealer in parts and an outside sales person.
Finally we really retired in 1994 and moved to Aiken, S.C. and then to Birmingham, AL in 2001. While there Nell and I volunteered at a wildlife center and learned how to capture injured raptors, from owls to hawks
.We moved to Natchitoches, LA., two years ago and now we both are involved in writing the history of the National Fish Hatchery and have just completed a traveling exhibit that will be telling the story of its’ first 75 years in operation. As volunteers, we are required to put in 16 hours a week, but usually do more since we really enjoy what we are doing, more important, is that we keep the old grey cells working and in the process, contributing to a good cause.
We are now in Shreveport and living in apartment 1424 at 1333 Coates Bluff Drive. Still in contact with the Fish Hatchery and writing for them and a lot of photography for ourselves. Have discovered the digital cameras are the best thing since sliced bread.